Trial Classes - Should You Offer Them?

Do you offer free trial classes at your dance studio?  Some studio owners love them, and some despise them. 

Your opinion might be that of being troublesome, too much work, the follow-up is confusing, and most students slip through the cracks because there are no processes. 

Personally, I think they are an integral part of building your student basis… IF they are done the right way. 

Let me take you through my process of trial students at my studio

- We have 2 types of trial classes.

  1. If an inquiry that we receive by phone or email is not quite certain about signing up, we offer trials on the classes they are interested in.
  2. We look at classes that have low enrollment and offer and advertise for ‘free trial classes’ on those specific classes. If you go this route, make it an event. We call ours “sparkle days” you can call it ‘princess trials’ or ‘glitter days’, you can even give a free gift like a tutu, butterfly wings, or princess ‘hair’ which you can find at your local dollar store.  Think of it this way, if you have 4 kids enrolled in a class, you advertise for a sparkle day, and enroll 4 more students, who cares that you spent $4 on the 4 kids already in the class for a free gift.  You now make $200 more per month. 

     

    - No matter what trial process you use (and you can use both!) the next step we take is to input the trial into our dance program (we use DSP). I set up an automatic email reminder for the day before so that we remind everyone about the trial class.  In this email, we tell them the dress code, where they can park, and what floor to come to when they enter the building.  People feel so much more confident when these things are written out for them.

- When the parents come to the studio on their day of the trial, we have them fill out our trial form with all of their pertinent information. We also have our customer care person there to answer any questions, show them the studio, and introduce them to the instructor.  We give them a studio handbook, so while the child is in class, they can look it over and ask any questions.

- When in the trial class, we have our instructors pair the trials with another student so that they now feel connected and part of the class. We also educate our instructors to make the new child feel welcome and give them a challenge to do after class, so that they want to come back and show how much they practiced.

- After class our customer care person asks if they have any questions, and tries to close the deal by registering the student.

- If the student does not register on that day, we send an email 2 days later, and give a personalized phone call 2 days after that. If the person is still not interested in registering, we put them on the inactive list which we send all upcoming communication to (new classes, things happening at the studio, etc).

- After a month, we call the new student and see how their classes are going and if they have any questions. This is super important because it nips any problems or questions in advance and the studio looks organized with an excellent customer service department.

We have had so much success with this process.

Don’t forget, when the new student does register, we ask questions like if they want to register for auto-pay or self-pay (and we explain the portal process of paying online), we also list out our costume payments, and /or prorate the tuition for the rest of the month.  We also give the student a coloring sheet that says welcome to our classroom.

 Even though we are a few months into the dance season, you can STILL get new students and build your numbers.

It’s all about nurturing your customers so they feel that they are important and want to be a part of your dance family.

Something to also think about.  In these covid times, when numbers are rising, if schools go virtual a lot of parents want some sort of activity for their child to get out of the house and interact with others.  NOW is the time to market to those families.  Think of it this way, our studios have fewer kids in the classrooms, we clean better than most schools and businesses (I was actually told that by at least 10 different parents.) 

Let's market our safety procedures and how these children need in person instruction and interaction.  I think you will be surprised by the outcome of spending a little time nurturing your trial class system in this day and age!!

We would love to hear how you have had success in this avenue.

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